In Which I Gag at the Notion of Self-Care

Has self-care always been a thing? As soon as I became a mom that term was everywhere, and I swear if one more person told me to put my own oxygen mask on first…


(It’s funny, no, that a metaphor referring to a plane crashing to the ground is so enduring? That can’t be what any new mom, or anyone else experiencing a crisis wants to think about. But I digress.)

Whether self-care is a term that’s been around forever, or it popped on my radar because of my new life circumstances is neither here nor there. Self care is a term that is everywhere now.

hello friend.


Can’t you hear some lady who does the voice overs for prescription drugs whispering it as you read?

Self care.


I read this article, which can’t be new to many of you anymore, as it has been around the lady-lifestyle-blogger block already, but this idea of, “making the choice to build a life you don’t regularly need to escape from,” is in my head and it will not go away.

So in this, the season of hygge, you all are welcome to join me in figuring out what that life looks like. We’re not fighting winter, we’re welcoming all that it offers. We’re not running from our lives and toward deep tissue massages and thousand-calorie burning cycling classes. No. We certainly are not. We’re looking more at the forest, and less at the trees. And we’re figuring out what makes a good life. And then we’re living it. Every damn day.


A Very Slacker Christmas

Dear readers, please do your best to bear with me, as I attempt to explain my thoughts on this Christmas season.



We are having a very slacker Christmas.

I have a couple of non-negotiables for the season:

  1. We will send cards (you don’t have to, really, but it’s something I love to do)
  2. Santa will bring us stockings filled with goodies (I just know it)
  3. We will go to church on Christmas Eve

But that’s kind of it. We have a tree, but the whole house is a mess, and don’t have much else in terms of decorations. We decorated a gingerbread house, but I threw it out during Gooplet’s nap one day because he could not get over staring at it and asking to eat the whole thing. And Larry, our beloved Elf on the Shelf, is taking some time off, because he realized just how much Gooplet is terrified of him.

gifts that sparkle.


I don’t hate it.

And all that sounds so grinchy, and goodness knows every single blogger’s house looks like a very plaid version of the North Pole right now. But there’s something about this year that has me taking all that in, appreciating it, and being able to do what Amy Poehler taught me in her book, which is to say, “Good for her, not for me.”

gold sharpie.


We’ve had a couple wonderful surprises come about unexpectedly – an evening I got to sneak away to a party I wasn’t sure I could make, a morning singing carols with friends, and if all goes according to (5 toddlers’) plan, a second annual book swap I wouldn’t trade for anything. But above all, I’ve been thrilled that almost all of the fun above falls in line with my new little rule for making plans. Aside from that, I’ve turned down virtually every invitation in the name of rest (we try real hard to get that around here), quiet time, and family. Tis the season, after all.

When Done Really Is Better Than Perfect

I had an aha moment the other day, wherein I realized a shift had gone down in my life. When I was working full time, I was productive because I had to be. I had to meet deadlines for work, and fit in all the stuff of life around those deadlines. And now my life is completely different. There are very few deadlines, most of which are self-imposed anyway, and thus, I’ve got some wiggle room. But I’m still obsessed with productivity. And the reason is because if I can get the boring stuff of life out of the way, I have more time for the best stuff. Which for me includes playing outside, reading, and cooking. So I have a new take on productivity.

I didn’t used to believe in “perfect is the enemy of good” or “done is better than perfect.” Why would you do something if it wasn’t perfect? Oh, Jennie of old. You also used to walk by the pre-chopped vegetables at the grocery store and wonder who on earth would ever need to buy those. And now you’re the person who is trying to entertain a small person whilst making dinner, and how would you ever get that done if pre-chopped vegetables didn’t exist? Things change. Seasons of life and all that. So for now, when it comes to the old to-do list, done is often good enough. Someone else can be perfect. I’m over it. Here are a couple of examples of how that’s come into play most recently.

Done is Better Than Perfect - my 2014 mantra. I'll be getting some serious things done in 2014!  // Lara Casey (


Photo Books for Goop’s first year – I used to scrapbook. Scrapbooking gets a bad rap for being a cheesy hobby, but oh, how I loved it. It gave me some time to be creative, and I have these beautiful albums with pages upon pages of memories. And despite my best intentions for keeping up with it once Goop was born, I didn’t. So I recently spent a series of four days (four nap times, to be more precise, this was hardly a large chunk of the day) creating photo albums using Pinhole Press. They’re uniform, they match an album I had already put together of his newborn photos, and they document big and little moments of his first year. Craftiness will have to wait.

Paying a boatload for shipping on furniture you’ve been meaning to order for 2 years – I mean, that pretty much says it all. When you’re waiting on your husband to go to IKEA, but oh yeah, your husband hates IKEA, sometimes you bite the bullet, pay the enormous shipping costs, and finally get those storage shelves you’ve always wanted for the basement.

Dinner – Oh, how I used to love coming home to cook after a long day. And oh, how I despise it now. It’s not that my relationship with cooking has changed, it’s that it’s no longer relaxing to stir risotto while trying to shake a small child off my ankle. So dinners are semi-homemade affairs. Less cooking, and more assembling. It’s fine. It’s a phase.




Finis [Week in the Life, Sunday]

We’re done. I don’t have too much to say other than, I am so glad I did this project this year. I’m writing this at the end of Monday, and while I’m glad to not have to reach into my back pocket to grab my phone, I still sort of missed taking pictures all day. This project definitely helped me take some new shots of Goop, which is great, because he’s hard to catch up with. I am so happy so many of you were here to follow along and cheer me on this year. I’m letting the photos tell the story today.











I kinda love that it’s blurry.

Have I Turned Into a Mommy Blogger? [Week in the Life, Saturday]

When Gooplet was born, I promised this wouldn’t turn into a mommy blog.

For the record – I read and love a lot of mommy blogs. But I don’t want to write one of my own.

And every day, when I come over to this place to upload my photos, I am struck by how many of Gooplet you all are getting this week. And this morning I realized (wait for it) it is what it is. Gooplet is one, and oh dearie me, do we see a lot of each other. Whenever Week in the Life falls next year, I bet that will still be the case. And after that, he’ll probably be off doing his own thing, at least a little bit of the time. And after that? He’ll be away from me more and more.

I saw a mom/neighbor/friend Friday afternoon. She had spent the day on a field trip with her son, and when I ran into her, she was running after her daughter who was off to soccer. “You’re not done for the day, are you?” I asked her. After all, I only had dinner, bath and bed, before I kissed Gooplet goodnight. “Oh, I’m just getting started,” she said.

This particular season is full of Gooplet. And thus, the photos are full of him too. Who knows what the next season will bring.


Some days start with a walk. (Most days now that the weather is nicer.)


Some (weekend) days start with bagels.


Most days involve a grocery trip for at least an item or two. (Flowers, hummus, and coffee, today.)


Most days involve playing with Dad on the floor.


Some days include special visitors. My aunt was in town for a day, and Gooplet was so excited to see her, he went running around, showing off by pointing to things in our house.


Some days there is baking going on. These are oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, except I replaced the 3 C of oats called for with 3 C of the coconut/almond/cranberry Special K I found at Costco the other day. So good.


Some days involve cousin playdates. Gooplet’s cousin is 9 months older than him, and we see her at the library for story time, and on the weekends to hang out. These two are definitely learning how to share. It seems one has no interest in any particular toy until the other picks it up.


Most days involve us trying to figure out what to put on your tray for dinner. I texted my friends once to ask if I was the only mom who felt like she was feeding her kid a rotation of the same four foods. (I wasn’t.)


Some days have so much going on, it’s best to excuse yourself to play upstairs “alone” for a little while. This kid doesn’t have a huge family, but today he spent time with a great-aunt, a great-uncle, an aunt, a cousin, and oh yeah, his mom and dad. That’s a lot for a little guy.


And most days he rallies, and is back to “business” as usual after a breather.


After Gooplet was asleep, and we ate dinner, my aunt went up to bed, and my husband went up to iron, and I got 30 minutes on the couch with this book (which I am not very far into, but love) before I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.

Why so many photos in one day? It’s Week in the Life! Stay tuned for more shots from my week.

Questions? Ali invented it.

Past Weeks in my life? 2016//2015//Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday 2011 (!!!!!)


What is a Normal Week Anyway? [Week in the Life, Friday]

There’s something about doing this project, this year, dear readers. One of my favorite things about it is that Ali picks the week. It’s a week that she thinks is good for her to do the project, and as a result, it’s just a week in my life that is what it is. If I were to pick a random week, I’d agonize about which week seems the most normal, when in reality, a week is a week is a week. It has normal pieces and not normal pieces, and we roll with whatever comes our way. Here’s what Friday looked like.


Everything is a phase. Everything. And for the last two days, he seems to be coming out of whatever little funk he was in. When this happens, we both become far more wonderful people.


He’s learned to stick his finger in the raspberries and eat them that way. I love it. (Also, his eyelashes have gotten even longer and I love that too.)


A rare quiet moment. Ahhhhhh.

IMG_0634Lately, he’s been picking at his official breakfast in his high chair. When he throws a fit about an hour later, I know he’s starving, and he inhales breakfast, part deux, wherever we are.


This kid has been exploring everything around him so much more intently these days.


We end up at the grocery store about 3 times a week because we can’t keep enough berries in the house. On this go-round, I was checking out, and Gooplet started shrieking. He had a bloody lip – no idea how that happened. So I scooped him up and out of the cart for some snuggles, and then he decided he’d help push it to the door.


Naptime hustle. Scheduling some summer dates. This week, naptimes have been very hustle-y, and as a result I’m super exhausted and am desperate for a break. Here’s to letting that be okay and reading on the porch a bit more next week.


I can’t open the pantry door for a minute without him going in to investigate something. (The ankle-chub is in full effect here.)


Dragged this kid across town on errands today and he was a total trooper. This Target had so many empty spots on shelves that it wasn’t worth it.


Chipotle, however, is always worth the trip. Gooplet inhaled half of my chicken.


Surveying the landscape at Costco. We’re new here, and I’m not in a good grocery groove here yet. Super fun to explore the aisles, though. We found a book we’ve been wanting!


We got back late, which made naptime this whole ordeal. He ended up bringing his blue car (in his hands in this photo) and Batman up for naptime. Batman is almost always a bedtime companion these days. Why attach to something soft and snuggly when you could bring plastic figurines?


Cleaning the windows. Someone’s gotta do it.


On a post-dinner, pre-bath walk around the hood. I love that almost every time we go out, we run into someone and end up chatting. This time around, we talked to some neighbors at the bottom of our street, and met some faces from around the corner.


I just can’t with this face.


Every night, my husband does story time right before bed. Stopping to peek in on these boys before I go downstairs to eat dinner is absolutely a highlight of every night I’m home.

Why so many photos in one day? It’s Week in the Life! Stay tuned for more shots from my week.

Questions? Ali invented it.

Past Weeks in my life? 2016//2015//Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday 2011 (!!!!!)


[Week in the Life, Thursday]

To-do lists are my thing, and right now, sitting pretty at the top of mine is: schedule hair appointment, schedule pedicure. Those two items have been there for way, way too long. But do you know why I haven’t done them yet? Because the weather is good, and we’ve got people to see. I have to work every single day to prioritize what really matters. Connections with other people are the most important. Fresh toenail color can wait. Makes it all the more relaxing when that pedicure finally happens, anyway.


It’s always funny to see what little toys he picks up off the floor. Today was sunglasses, Grover, and the Little People zookeeper.


Gooplet and Wooden Nickels. He took a big interest in our coffee and she told him, “You don’t need coffee, you have enough energy.”


On Thursdays the recycling bins come out. Thanks for putting them out early today, across-the-street neighbor.


Singing and snuggling before naptime.


This kid is very hit or miss when it comes to music class. Sometimes he naps through the start time and we don’t go. Sometimes he clings to me the whole time because he’s not feeling it. And sometimes he’s transfixed and stares in wonder at the musicians. Today was one of those days.


Wandered off and played by himself for a little bit before naptime. Total win.


Stories before nap 2.


Did a little bit of work (read the session papers) at the start of naptime, but then I went out to read on the porch. I’ve been out the past two nights, and was out again Thursday evening, so sometimes you just have to make it happen at other times.


And sometimes you’ve gotta plunk your kid on the bed so you can get changed for a walk.


I love our neighborhood. Being able to text friends and ask, “Are you guys out on the playground?” is something I hope I don’t ever take for granted.


That one in red is Gooplet’s role model. They adore each other.


Circling the block to see more recycling bins. He babbles and reaches out for them.


I taught him how to blow on dandelions, and now he points to them until I pull them.


The third Thursday of the month means a session meeting at church at night. And someone else is in charge of dinner!


My leaving in the evenings often produces quite the scene with Gooplet, so, oh look! More bins to make him happy. Bet you didn’t know you were signing on to see so many people’s discarded belongings on the blog today.


Empanadas and church work. Not pictured: the best plantain chips I’ve ever had.

Why so many photos in one day? It’s Week in the Life! Stay tuned for more shots from my week.

Questions? Ali invented it.

Past Weeks in my life? 2016//2015//Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday 2011 (!!!!!)

What Do You Do All Day? [Week in the Life, Wednesday]

That’s the proverbial question stay at home moms get asked all the time, right? So. What do you DO all day? Perhaps it’s more of an urban mom legend because I’ve never been asked. But I’ve also given it serious thought, and I honestly have no idea. What do I do all day? A lot of nothing and and a little bit of everything. But if you asked me and expected me to give you a coherent answer I don’t know that I could.  I’m loving this year’s Week in the Life project because my answer is becoming more clear. And I don’t have to tell you anything, you can just come on over to the blog and see for yourself.

Here’s what Wednesday looked like.


This morning I walked this sidewalk, which I used to walk every day. Now it’s a once in a while kind of thing.


This morning we dropped off the fourth Harry Potter book on CD, which we finished about a month ago. We’ve been listening in the car.


This morning, we toured the recycling bins before we left school.


This morning, your jammies stayed on a little longer, and you knocked stuff off of tall towers (this is typical).


This morning we snuggled while you woke up from your nap.


This morning we didn’t make it to early story time, so we waited for the later one.


This afternoon you picked at some Chex, raspberries, and cheese, and I ate leftover chicken stew for lunch.

IMG_0390This afternoon, you took a nap, and I finally found this missing toy!

IMG_0393This afternoon, I gave you little instructions, at CVS. “Hold the pens, please,” “Pick up my wallet,” and you followed them. VICTORY DANCE!


This afternoon, Wooden Nickels arrived, and found us sorting through the recycling bins like always.


This afternoon you went crazy, showing off for her.


This evening, I left to tutor for an hour.


This evening, you threw a fit after I said goodbye, but 5 minutes of Sesame Street did the trick.


This evening, Dad gave you dinner, and you ate half of what was in the fridge. Then you got a bath and it was time for bed.


This evening, the three grown ups had spaghetti pie. Wooden Nickels called an early bedtime, my husband went up to iron and watch hockey, and I finally, finally caught up on the 100th episode of Scandal. (And kept reading this book. I don’t know why I’m still reading this book.)

Why so many photos in one day? It’s Week in the Life! Stay tuned for more shots from my week.

Questions? Ali invented it.

Past Weeks in my life? 2016//2015//Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday 2011 (!!!!!)


On Moments [Week in the Life, Tuesday]

Motherhood has brought me an understanding of so many things about which I was clueless before. And a deeper knowledge of a lot of old adages. Take, for instance, “Every day may not be good, but there is good in every day.” I appreciate small moments so much more than ever before. Because, babies? They can take a glorious day and change everything on a dime. Scroll on, dear readers.


Today you screamed for dear life in your crib from 2:50 to 4:00 a.m. I am usually pretty heartless when it comes to sleep, figuring you can go ahead and get back to sleep on your own, but today was different. The screams were louder, and our windows were open, and I was terrified you’d wake the neighbors. Dad attempted to get you back to sleep, and I went in with the big guns (Motrin), but nothing worked. Ultimately, I scooped you up at 4:00, brought you over the chair in your room, and you slept while I held you, until 6:30. And are you ready for the kicker? I didn’t even hate it that much.


Today you were cuter than cute when you woke up. All smiles, babbling away, and playing. Like the 4 hours prior hadn’t even happened. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully understand you, little Goophead.


Today you wanted to follow your dad around all morning long. This is a departure from the last 5 or so days where you have had no interest in him at all.


Today you got your shoes on with Dad, and once he left for work, we did our long walk, including a trip to Starbucks. After last night, it was a venti kind of day.


Today you stalled for a while before we started stories and naptime. I was baffled as to how you weren’t tired, but you weren’t.


Today I cleaned up your breakfast dishes like always.


Today I emptied the dishwasher and flipped some laundry.


Today I turned in my session report before our meeting on Thursday.


Today you had too much fun at gym class. It’s your happy place – you can run and climb and do just about whatever you want.


Today we walked around a little bit in hopes that the line at Cava would get shorter. It did, and we ate together in the shade. I so wanted to get dessert, but I held out, remembering all the sugar in my coffee this morning.


Today you busted into the pantry as I was getting something out. You love walking around with the brooms and Swiffer.


Today we watched another wall of the house across the street go up.

IMG_0284Today we went for a short stroll around the block, but not before loading up on sunscreen. You inherited my fair skin, and I’m doing my part to make sure it stays as flawless as it is now.


Today you sat on our recycling bins and picked through what was already in them. I have no idea where the love of the bin comes from, but you ask to do this every day.


Today you were not happy after your nap so you sat in my lap and I stacked a bunch of Legos and just kept singing songs you like.


Today Dad came home a little earlier than usual so I could get things done. But you had no interest in me leaving your side, so we all snuggled on the couch.


Today I popped you on the counter for a minute while I tried to get BBQ bacon burgers on the dinner table (they were a great success).


Today I slipped out after bedtime for a tutoring session. An hour of measurement and volume in the books.

Why so many photos in one day? It’s Week in the Life! Stay tuned for more shots from my week.

Questions? Ali invented it.

Past Weeks in my life? 2016//2015//Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday 2011 (!!!!!)

If You Want it to be Spring Break, You Have to Make it Spring Break [Week in the Life, Monday]

Monday was the last day of our spring break. But not really spring break. I was just mom-ing away at home like I always do. The difference between spring break and regular life was that I declared it spring break. This meant laundry was neglected, I got lax about cleaning, I shirked some clean up duties to read on the porch every night, and we are all still fine.

One of the things I loved about being a teacher was that come June, the school year was over and done, and you could start fresh in the fall. Not so with mom-life. It’s on and on and on and on-going. And there’s never a good time to stop the madness and take a break from the daily routines. But sometimes, your friends are on spring break, and so you declare a little break of your own.

If you want it to be spring break, you have to make it spring break.

You decide that this is the week you’ll have a little more fun.

Here’s what Monday looked like.


He just lives to be outside. I enjoy being outside, but not as much as him. On good days, I’m accommodating.


He and I both share a love of the grocery store, thank goodness. He likes to bang on boxes in the front of the cart, and point and shout at balloons as we walk around. He loves saying hello to the butcher, and the check out ladies.


I am almost always my most productive during Monday morning naptime. Today was dinner in the slow cooker, laundry folded, dishes washed, smoothie finished, coffee poured, trash and recycling out, groceries put away.


We are in the car for something or another every day. Love seeing those chubby feet.


We love when we have an errand to run right near two of our besties. Met them at the grocery store and picked up a couple things at Home Goods (but not the things I needed).


He asked for TV when we got home, so 10 minutes of snuggles and Sesame Street (with Grover and Cookie Monster).


He loves to play with little figures. These two are fresh from the Easter basket.


We ventured off to see more friends (told you it was spring break). The grown ups had a glass of wine and spanikopita. He ran all over the place.


They did dinner together while I caught my breath.


We (3) did bath time with a super tired Gooplet.


We ate dinner together, but each did our own (phone) thing.


I ended the day the best way I know how. Reading (Small Admissions) on the porch. A couple nights away from home this week means this is probably not going to happen as much as I want it to.

Why so many photos in one day? It’s Week in the Life! Stay tuned for more shots from my week.

Questions? Ali invented it.

Past Weeks in my life? 2016//2015//Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday* Saturday Sunday 2011 (!!!!!)

*AGOMYR, you still reading? Be sure to click on Friday. xoxo